Bolted to the top of the engine is a high-rise Weiand manifold, a part that existed prior to the war if only barely. Though Stromberg 97 carburetors aren’t exactly rare, ones in the condition these are in are getting there. Rather than buy headers, Higgins did as a kid would’ve 70 years ago and welded up his own headers. For the most part he bolted together the car with Ford hardware but he combed through piles at swap meets and in the old-stock bins at Hagens HiWay Auto Parts to reproduce the mismatched collection of that would’ve likely held together a teenager’s car so many years ago.
As noted earlier, juice brakes were highly unlikely to end up on a teenager’s car prior to the war. Deuce brakes, on the other hand, offer nearly the same benefit: they’re the same diameter as the later brakes and just barely narrower. Mechanical brakes have another friendly consequence: They work perfectly with ’32 pedal assemblies and pivots. They’re at least 60 years old but the 6.00-16 Atlas and 6.50-16 Remington tires mounted to the Kelsey-Hayes wheels are as supple and crack-free as the day they were molded.
A Deuce grille transforms a Model A into a layman’s Lincoln and, as Dean Batchelor noted in The American Hot Rod, they fit Model A bodies with minimal alteration. Higgins relocated the radiator’s filler neck and filled the grille top. Rather than shave the door handles he replaced the doors with ones from a ’28. But beyond that, though, the body remains absolutely original right down to the holes left by removing the top rests.
Both Higgins and Glucoft admit they took a few liberties with the level of work invested in the body and the finish applied to it. Lead alone doesn’t yield a surface as perfect as this but plastic is plastic whether applied by a spreader or spray gun. Both got a little bit shy when they explained the modern polyurethane finish.
The cowl tank remains but Higgins updated its gauge pod with dials from a ’36 Diamond T truck. Pat Swanson prepped the Stewart-Warner tachometer mounted to the column. Paul Reichlin at Cedardale Auto Upholstery in Mount Vernon trimmed the seat and rear side panels in a heavy-grain material that he refers to as school bus vinyl. He also crafted the lakes tarp.
So does the Amocat Model A push boundaries? Consider the following. Here’s a car painstakingly researched and built to reflect an underreported era. More than anything it’s a restoration; it bears no purpose-built speed parts beyond a manifold, cam, and tachometer. Yet there’s no denying it: It’s a hot rod.
“We’re not trying to do something new,” Higgins once said during the car’s construction. “We’re just doing something you haven’t seen in a long time.”
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